Piracy on the High Seas, and Your TV

ABC's 20/20 recently focused on cruisers Jay Barry and Carol Martini, who defended themselves against a pirate attack off Somalia in 2005.

In the video “Anchorage of Terror [1],” CW community member spanishstroll captures the lawlessness of an anchorage in Isla Margarita, Venezuela [1]

In the video “Anchorage of Terror,” CW community member spanishstroll captures the lawlessness of an anchorage in Isla Margarita, Venezuela Spanishstroll

On April 17, television viewers had the chance to watch cruisers Jay Barry and Carol Martini tell ABC’s 20/20 how they defended themselves off the coast of Somalia in 2005 aboard Gandalf, their 47-foot steel cutter. The segment, “When Pirates Attack: Negotiate or Shoot?” aired at 10 pm Eastern time. The story of the harrowing encounter first appeared in the Cruising World special report “Attacked by Pirates,” written by David Shaw for our January 2006 issue.

The broadcast, about recent pirate attacks off Somalia and demand for ransom from commercial shipping crews, included an interview with Barry and Martini about their bluewater adventures. It was filmed from their home in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where they’ve been based since returning home a year and a half ago .

To restock the cruising kitty, the couple has resumed their careers. Martini’s a physician; Barry’s an engineer.


And “Gandalf the Green,” berthed in Beverly, Massachusetts, is still very much a part of their lives, Martini said in a phone interview today. “We worked on it over the weekend,” Martini said. The couple intends to head out again in a few years.

They’ve heard from others intermittently since publication of the story in Cruising World in 2006. “The CW article raised cruisers’ awareness,” Martini said.

When asked by the ABC interviewer if they’d head to the Red Sea again, Martini replied:


“I said, ‘no way, Jose!, and Jay said, ‘with the right boat and the right gun.’ “

Despite his remark, Barry and Martini were unarmed during the passage in which he and Rod Nowlin of Mahdi, a 45-foot steel Waterline cutter, were attacked. (Nowlin was armed; Barry rammed the pirate boat. For more details, see the story.)

The couple had met the Rowlins some time before, in Thailand, and had planned the Red Sea trip together. They became friends, and because Gandalf and Mahdi were matched well in terms of maintenance and speed, they decided to cruise in company and finish the Gulf of Aden crossing as fast as possible together. “We’d sailed together from Thailand to India,” Martini said, noting that “we arrived within 15 minutes of each other.”


For the latest news on ongoing efforts to include sailors cruising off the African continent, including Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, in piracy deterrence operations, go to